AP reporter confronts Biden spokesperson over Russia allegations
State Department spokesperson Ned Price got into a heated exchange with AP reporter Matt Lee on Thursday after Lee asked if the U.S. would provide public evidence for its recent allegations against Russia.
Why it matters: The U.S. claims to have information indicating that Russia is considering staging a "fabricated attack" by Ukrainian forces in order to justify an invasion of Ukraine, Axios' Zachary Basu writes.
What they're saying: Asked whether the U.S. would provide public evidence to support the accusations, Price said he'd "just delivered" it and asked Lee if he wanted a printout of the transcript from the briefing.
- He also repeatedly said they were maintaining confidentiality to "protect sources and methods."
- "We declassify information only when we're confident in that information," Price said when Lee continued to press.
- "If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do," he told Lee.
In a statement tweeted after the briefing, Price said he and Lee have had their "fair share of sparring sessions."
- "Clearly, he’s no one’s dupe, and I’d never want to suggest otherwise," he added. "Nothing but respect for him, which I underscored in a call to him after the briefing."